Water Photography – Capture the Power – Water in general, is a very interesting medium. Whether it is the complete still of a lake or a chopped chaos on the ocean, captured images of the motion are fascinating. How to photograph or ‘capture’ the power of water depends largely on what effects are intended to achieve. In light technical terms, images of moving water are often ‘softened up’ to make them look somewhat magical.
This is done by the use of neutral density (ND) filters mounted to a camera’s lens. This (darkened) lens provides the photographer with broader range of exposure settings. However, softened water photography fails to bring out details, such as individual water drops or spray. So, the keys to create images that capture the power in water photography with the most details are: high speed shutter speeds with small apertures. Details are the main attributes necessary to depict the raw power of water as it moves.
In water photography, to capture the power of the water, creeks and rivers make for ideal subjects. In addition, waterfalls offer amazing opportunities to capture detailed motion. The following video was produced at Shuswap Falls and Wilsey Dam in British Columbia, an easily accessible site featuring raging waters in rocky channels and in waterfalls.
The first sequence in the video are stills shot in high frame-rate bursts to literally freeze the movement and show details that softened water photography never reveals. Following are motion pictures (actual video clips) shot at 60 fps initially but hen slowed 50, 25 and 12% in post editing. Cameras used for this video: FujiFilm XT-4 and Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ300.